Update from the Head Of School Search Committee

Head of School Search Committee
Dear Friends,

The PFS Head Search Committee is excited to share with you an update on the work that we’ve done over the spring and early summer, highlights from feedback we’ve received from you all, and a look at what the next several months have in store. 

Your feedback, in the form of roundtables and the community-wide survey, has been invaluable. Apart from providing us with critical insight into the attributes you are looking for in the next Head of School, the process of meeting with parents, faculty/staff, and PMM was a reminder of the deeply thoughtful and engaged community in which PFS lives. 

We heard from over 200 of you and, not surprisingly, there were some consistent themes. Below are our takeaways from those forums, captured in three categories: the personal attributes you are looking for in the next Head of School, the experience or capabilities you hope they bring to the position, and your overarching priorities for the school as we move into this next chapter.

You'll continue to hear from us at key intervals in the process. Keep an eye out for updates posted to the PFS website as well as the occasional email. For a timeline of key milestones in the search process so far, as well as the plan going forwad, please see below.

We are galvanized by the progress of the search and are grateful for the participation of our terrific community. 

In friendship,

Tom Pinneo & Hilary Sims
Clerks of the PFS Head Search Committee

Roundtable Summary:

Personal Attributes
  •  Charismatic: Capable of projecting a leader’s vision as PFS transitions out of the era of the founding Head of School.
  •  Attuned and Sensitive: Able to read our history and, while acknowledging and respecting our traditions, adroitly show us what to leave behind and what to carry forward.
  •  Curious: A learner who listens attentively; not someone who is simply waiting to speak.
  •  Decisive: Engaged in collaborative discussion but able to choose a course of action, commit to it, and find traction.
  •  Progressive: Committed to and experienced in administering whole-child, constructivist education.
  •  Quaker or Quaker-adjacent: Aligned with Quaker values and the PFS mission, can demonstrate a commitment to racial and socioeconomic diversity; “lets their life speak” through their actions and deeds.
 Experience and Capabilities
  •  Educator: A teacher with hands-on experience, preferably in a Quaker school, who is qualified to evaluate and shape curriculum and balance the demands of academics along with the need for social and emotional learning.
  •  Manager: A leader with a demonstrated ability to build and oversee an effective team of administrators and teachers; someone capable of delegating tasks while focusing on the top strategic priorities.
  •  Communicator: As comfortable engaging parents and donors as students and faculty; always open and transparent.
  •  Budget Steward: Someone with proven abilities with managing finances, particularly with respect to fundraising, enrollment, or both.
  •  Crystallize what is unique about PFS: Expand on the Mission Statement by differentiating a PFS education from other local offerings that also say they are progressive.
  •  Enrollment: Guide and support the Director of Admissions to achieve full enrollment.
  •  Advancement: Guide and support the Director of Advancement to meet fundraising goals.
  •  Faculty Support: Collaborate with faculty to provide a consistent system of curricular support and ongoing opportunities for professional development. 
  •  Hiring: Follow best hiring practices by posting job openings broadly.
  •  Place: Be more systematic and consistent in weaving our rich location into the curriculum.
  •  Quaker Roots: Live our Quaker values more fully.
  •  Princeton Monthly Meeting: Work to deepen our relationship with PMM.

Recap of Key Milestones & The Plan Going Forward

The Head of School position was posted to sites including: 
  •  National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  •  New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS)
  •  Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS) 
  •  Friends Council on Education (FCE)
  •  Progressive Education Network (PEN)
  •  Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS)
  •  National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE)
  •  PFS website
April and May
The Head Search Committee reached out to the heads of about 90 Quaker schools across the U.S. and abroad to spread the word about the position. 

March through May
We established the baseline for our candidate evaluation rubric.
May and early June
We solicited feedback from the broad community via Survey Monkey.

June 1
The application deadline closed with close to 30 qualified candidates representing a variety of experiences and coming from across the U.S.
June 5
We met with representatives of Princeton Monthly Meeting for a round-table conversation about the priorities for the next Head.
June 3, 5, and 19
We met with parents for roundtable conversations about the priorities for the next Head.
June 16
We narrowed the pool of candidates to 9 semifinalists.
June 26
We met with faculty/staff representatives to review the notes from their “World Café”–format roundtable with the full faculty and staff, and summed up the faculty and staff's priorities for the next Head.
Early July
We set up semifinalist interviews for the second half of July through early August.
July 8
We fleshed out our candidate evaluation rubric based on feedback from the round-tables and survey.
The Plan Going Forward:
  •  Semifinalist interviews: second half of July through early August. 
  •  Finalist selection: end of August. 
  •  Finalist visits at school: early to mid-September.
  •  Extend an offer: mid- to late October. 
  •  New Head on-boarding process: throughout spring of 2020.
  •  New Head's official start date: July 1, 2020.
A progressive, Quaker day school welcoming students in Pre-K through 8th grade to our historic Princeton campus nestled in the woods.